New photographer, this one is for you.
I get a lot of questions from new photographers that often make me sad.
Here are a couple:
How do I get business? How do I improve? Do I suck? Are my prices too high?
I started my business almost five years ago and I honestly never thought I would be where I am now. Am I still learning? We all are. Am I still improving? We all are. I do not want new photographers to think some experienced ones are better than them. When I started 5 years ago, I got a lot of backlash for charging nothing. Several told me how I was taking their business and how I should improve before charging.. Well, because I needed to improve. I literally had several tell me it was good I was free because I was not worth anything. Even though at the time it broke my heart, it motivated me.
Here is why..
Once I started charging, people saw my growth and followed my long hard journey. I NEVER GAVE UP. I knew this is what I wanted to do as a hobby. Soon, it became business. I was not a profitable business until 2017. FOUR YEARS. Every business method is different and every photographer is known in a different way. Some take longer than others because honestly, getting your name out is not easy. Nothing about running a business is easy. Most think right off the bat it will be easy and they will make great money. That could not be farther from the truth.
If I could tell new photographers something, I would tell them to practice, have patience, and be humble.
Don't think you suck, just work harder to find your style. Work harder to improve. Everything else will come on its on. When I started most didn't even want a free session from me. That was my hint that I needed to focus more on manual and improving my settings as well as my editing. Having patience is key in photography because you will go through so many rough patches. I went through several styles and business methods before finding what works for me. Most of the time other photographers would tell me it wouldn't work or they would not recommend me doing it that way. I learned quickly, everyone is different. That is what makes photography so unique, no two photographers are the same. I promise. The last thing I want new photographers to know is to be humble. When I started I was not the nicest person because I did not know how to hold my tongue. I was very blunt and most people knew that. Running a business, I learned I wanted to help others because I did not get the same love. I wanted to go out of my way to make sure no one felt like I did. Some may even think what if they try to copy you or be just like you? Well, they can try but I have worked really hard to get to where I am at. When I started would I have been mad? Yes. Now, not so much because I know no matter what, my clients will stick with me. Some new photographers think, I am better and cheaper so why do I not get business? It's not because of your price or work. Clients invest in the person as well as the photographers. Do not compare yourself with others, compare yourself with who you were yesterday. Do not stress over how other photographers get business. Work on your business method. If others want to give you criticism, don't take it personal like I did. There is a difference in criticism and being rude!